1954 – 37th Segment: “A Song for Kristina”

In this series we present 100 songs which have gone down in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. On Czech Radio’s web pages you can find a poll, in which you can vote for the best hit from the past century. We look forward to your vote! We continue with the year 1954.

1954
Cable radio started to be used in Czechoslovakia.
At the beginning of July, the river Šumava overflowed.
On September 20th, the first computer program in the Fortran programming language was created.

In the first half of the 1950’s the lack of modern popular music was indirectly filled by musical theater. Already in May 1953, the musical comedy based in Spain „Sto dukátů za Juana“ (One Hundred Ducats for Juan) was played on the radio. It was soon adapted for the stage. Two of the songs written by Vladimír Dvořák and composed by Zdeněk Petr, “A Song for Kristina” and the slow foxtrot “Good Night,” became great hits.

Thanks to a more relaxed political atmosphere following the deaths of Stalin and Gottwald, both compositions were released on gramophone in 1954. After years of strict prohibition of popular music - this was a moment of great triumph.

'One Hundred Ducats for Juan', photo: Czech Television'One Hundred Ducats for Juan', photo: Czech Television The song “Good Night,” sung by Rudolf Cortés and accompanied by Vlach’s Orchestra, sold 180 standard discs, but this was nothing in comparison to “A Song for Kristina.” In the 1950’s and 1960’s it sold an unbelievable 313 thousand records. The song remains ingrained in our memories, and although the original was sung by Vladimír Salač, Waldemar Matuška’s version is more well-known.

Vote for the best song of the century!